I was the only Asian in the 4×4 jeepney. An Israeli couple traveling with their little girl Luna was an endearing sight. The morning air was cool. Everyone donned their cardigan or jacket. I wrapped the pink scarf around my shoulders; my wet hair tickled my arms. We were on our way to BOH Tea Plantation.
She arrived. She positioned her backpack beside her. It was almost as tall as her and perhaps as heavy. This would be our second climb together, and somehow, I expected her bag would be as interesting as the one she brought to Kan-Irag. About 30 meters from the jump-off, her nostrils flared from exhaustion. We all panted, but her huffs were more audible. Always, the start is the most arduous. “Pwede mag-weight distribution ta? (Can we have a weight distribution?),” I suggested. There were six of us: two of us were women, three men, and one young capable guide. Obliged […]
“Okay ra ka diha, ‘te Jo?!” (Are you okay there, ‘te Jo?!) Ice’s voice was almost drowned in the cacophony of rain, thunder, and rushing water inside my tent. “Di!” (No!) I was holding the poles of the tent, preventing it from flying away. The wind hammered against it to no end. Again, lightning struck. It illuminated the slanted poles and the sagging fly for a split second. Like the tent, I shrank, hoping the lightning could not find us. Then, a thunderous roar filled the small space inside.